Canteen Magazine's Arty Living Room Gala

Martin Marks

Sometimes, a man's home is more than just his castle -- it's also his museum. Such is the case for Arnold and Pam Lehman, who, this past Thursday, opened their Brooklyn Heights home and private art collection in order to play hosts to a gala benefitting Canteen magazine. Founded three years ago by Stephen Pierson and Sean Finney, Canteen is a biannual journal of literature and arts that explores how writers and artists -- even chefs, glasswalkers, and CIA agents -- do what they do. Canteen also operates CanTEEN, a writing program in Harlem for underprivileged youth.

Guests that evening were surrounded by the Lehman's curatorial treasures -- from a rhinestone and acrylic Mickalene Thomas painting, to a Fernando Mastrangelo sculpted entirely from sugar and coffee. And, if one were to turn away from the art-bedecked walls, tables, and chairs for just a moment, there was food prepared by Michelin-starred chef Kurt Gutenbrunner, and cocktails mixed by Porterhouse's James Menite -- delicious, yet slightly dangerous, lest one should accidentally bump into a gold Terrence Koh hummingbird mounted nearby.

Under the watchful gaze of a Kehinde Wiley portrait presiding over the living room, authors Justin D. Taylor and Porochista Khakpour worked with portable typewriters and index cards, serving as literary fortune tellers to the gala's attendees, who included Bjork and artist Matthew Barney, author Stephen Elliott, Daniel Power, Nancy Stephens, Pulitzer-prize nominated playwright Gina Gionfriddo, photographer Susan Meiselas, Nina Collins, Alan Miller, Gigantic magazine founders Rozalia Jovanovic and Ann DeWitt, artist Vincent Como, and Stephanie Berger.

As benefits go, the writerly, casual elegance of the Canteen magazine gala sparkled like the sequins and pearls of a Hew Locke sculpture -- one of which, as luck would have it, could be found on a side table in the living room.

Photos courtesy of Reka Nyari



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